Silicon Valley is a bubble. Here’s how it can respond to Trump.


AliveCor CEO Vic Gundotra has some ideas for techies on the latest Recode Decode.

Vic Gundotra calls himself an “eternal optimist” and says he loves what he has worked on — starting at Microsoft, then at Google and now at health-tech startup AliveCor. But after Donald Trump’s victory in the presidential race, he’s rethinking some things.

“We in Silicon Valley have to be aware that the optimism, hope, enthusiasm and excitement that we have in the Valley, every day, with the people we work with, is not indicative of what most Americans feel,” Gundotra said on the latest episode of Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher.

Gundotra said techies have a responsibility to start thinking more about people outside of their immediate circles, and being open to “opposing views.”

“Listening means you don’t demonize someone in your office who is a Trump supporter,” he said. “Those people got so afraid that they stopped talking and then the polls were wrong. They only expressed their opinion when they felt safe, in the voting booth.”

He also said people who had been critical of Trump must not treat him with the same obstructionism that President Obama received from Republicans in Congress. When Swisher pointed out that this obstructionism may have helped the GOP win, he stood by his opinion because “leadership means doing the right thing.”

Gundotra added that he is “okay with normalization,” referring to the process of welcoming Trump and his ideas into the political establishment that is dividing observers in the media. However, he said that that normalization should have limits.

“I’m not okay with normalizing evil,” Gundotra said. “If you demonize groups of people — if you demonize Hispanics, if you demonize gays and lesbians, that’s immoral. That’s not what I’m referring to.”

“Maybe Silicon Valley won’t work with certain people,” he added, referring to Trump’s incoming chief strategist Steve Bannon, who as chairman of Breitbart News oversaw the routine publication of sexist, transphobic, anti-gay, anti-Semitic and often false stories. “I think President-elect Trump will figure out who is appropriate.”

You can listen to Recode Decode in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode, answers the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, including the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

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